Barry Silah @obel_barry
Kenya’s St Anthony’s School sailed to the quarter-finals of the Copa Coca-Cola Africa Cup after downing Botswana 3-0 at Nakuru High School Grounds yesterday.
This win gave them six points and top place in Pool A after Monday’s 11-1 battering of Ethiopia. The home team started with a bang through Issah Rashid who rounded off goalkeeper Dioka Tumisong for the opener in the first minute after a good cross from marauding Kennedy Mwendwa from the right flank.
St Antony were hungry upfront as they ran into spaces spearheaded by Wisdom Nayah and Lucas Maina who were in control in the middle of the pack.
The first half totally belonged to the young Saints who were all confident and cocky especially in applying pressure as Botswana struggled under the sun.
Opponents Botswana were starved of possession as St Anthony’s backline led by skipper Cedric Muchina held forte nicely alongside Christopher Raila was solid.
It did not help matters for Team Botswana whose approach of playing deep and launching counter attacks failed because their lone threat Lekhintile Leantile was hardly convincing.
On 22 minutes against the run of play, enterprising Mwendwa launched a speculative attack from the 18 yard box after good interplay with Rashid only for his goal-bound strike just hit the upright. The Botswana defending was proving erratic and most of the time they were lucky to survive.
However, their casual closing enabled the Kenyan side to punish them. The 29th minute saw the Saints get their second courtesy of winger Answar Shamun who timed his run and executed a lovely shot off his left boot at the far post beating the outstretched Tumisong.
From then, it was damage limitation as the Botswana players who managed out a goalless draw on Tuesday evening against Ethiopia, fell back in numbers to avoid a collapse.
In the second half, the Kenyan side appeared relaxed and overconfident as they strode the ball around to conserve energy.
However, this awoke the opponents who had made tactical switches. Livewire attacker Jacob Onyango was substituted after a composed game in anticipation of the quarters fight against Mozambique today. A tired-looking Botswana could not threaten St Anthony’s custodian Issa Emoria who was mostly a spectator.
In the 69th minute, Kenya earned the third goal came off Christopher Raila whose thunderbolt closed it out for a satisfactory day. St Anthony’s tactician Dan Oringo told People Sports that his instructions were for his players to remain calm and enjoy themselves while Botswana coach Godfrey Rantoka praised his charges for not collapsing in the match. The Southern African nation has progressed into the quarters on goal aggregate over Ethiopia.